The End of Shadow

Tonight as we head further closer towards the conclusion of this yearly adventure with The Defence of the Wall. This month we have a level 10 adventure and at the end of this adventure we will be wrapping up the 11 month campaign..

As with usual Pages 1, 2 and 3 are content pages, the description, flow, random tables, etc. and such that you’ve previously seen.
Page 4 contains all NPCs and portraits to help the DM describe them and a bit about them to help play them out.
Page 5 will be stat blocks and map(s) – all that D&D encounter goodness that you want.

Now I will assume you have read the entire post which has had some bits modified over the months content. Now including the original content, and some bits added this is a smaller than normal length, only just making 7101! words long. I really do appreciate the time you take to read through these end of month adventures.

All Maps were made in Inkarnate using their Pro license, Art was created in Artbreeder and the statblocks were created in Tetra-cube AND the balancing of encounters is a mixture of experience and the guides found at Kobold Fight Club.

Don’t forget to come back next week and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe


Part 1 – Pursuit of the Oni – 244MoPuOTOn

With the retreat of the Oni and the cracking open of the mountains peak the party woke up feeling refreshed. After the defeat of the ice queen and defence of the wall against her magic the wall guard offered them the best room and comforts available to them. Four walls and a bed each.

In the morning the party emerged to find the wall quiet. The land beyond the wall was even more so with only the occasional movement at a forward base camp the shadows minions had on the ridge further towards The Shadows Throne. The oni and their slaves, the Butatō, were the only things that could be seen as left over from the battlefield. The Spirit folk and other creatures that had been fighting the party and the wall guard had disappeared which gave the wall guard a day of repairs to the wall.

“Message from the General. Lord Toshio was found dead in his tent and his troops had surrendered. Apparently they have all claimed enchantment and enthrallment from the Yuki-onna and the warriors claim that Lord Toshio took his own life when he heard his wife had been killed.” The messenger from the general recited to wall captain Hou and Kyoko. “The General has begun to detain and question the Toshio troops but Lord Harimasu has pardoned them on condition that they return to their homelands and begin to broker peace between the two families again. The general is on his way here to make an attack on the mountain. He will be here in two days however he needs what ever intel we can provide him.”

Kyoko frowned at this and asked for a map of the battlefield from what the scouts had been able to map out. “This camp of Oni. How defended is it?”

“We estimate that it would be a few dozen Oni, their leaders and slaves at a minimum. A frontal attack would go poorly but if there is another way that we can get the intel without risking more lives or leaving the wall undefended then I am all ears.” Captain Hou replied as he pointed towards the map, indicating where he would suspect the intel to be kept.

“Sir, I volunteer to lead the operation to retrieve the intel.” a voice said from the door. Wall Guardsmen Gin Seng stood there looking determined and fatigued. “I’ve grown up training to fight these creatures, to defend this wall. If I can help finish the war then I want to be involved… Sir.” he added with a moment hesitation.

“This mission is too crucial to leave it to one person. But too difficult and risky for a large scale attack.” Kyoko said as she nodded to Gin Seng.

“Perhaps these heroes from across the sea would be able to be of assistance once again?” Kit Hou said as she smiled at the group. “They seemed to have saved half of Ryokughan already from the Oni and the Shadows influence so what’s one more mission?”

General Hou frowned at his daughter. “We put too much pressure on them. They have done enough. We can not rely on them forever and I fear that there may be worse things up in those hills which we just haven’t seen yet.”

Kyoko smiled to the party. “It’s up to you. But we may need help distracting the main force if we were to send in a smaller group of wall guard to retrieve the intel. If you can help with either endeavour I would feel more confident in our success. The entire Oni force would know of you by now and surely they would want to have a chance at gaining the Shadows favour by attempting to best you in combat.”


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“Sir, I volunteer to lead the operation to retrieve the intel.” His voice echoed in his mind as he looked over the battlefield. In four hours the sun would begin to set and he would begin the mission.

As he looked across the soldiers clearing the battlefield of their dead and piling the enemy corpses onto a pile he called out. “Place the spiritfolk in a separate pile. They dont burn their dead with the Oni. They think it an offence to the spirits who guide them.” He said to Kit who, as punishment, was in charge of the bloody duty.

When the party and Kyoko looked his way he smiled sadly. “I spent some time with the spiritfolk when I was young… Some things you cant forget.” He began. After a moment he explained further.

Gin was born the son of an alchemist, two infact. His parent’s were non-conventional to say the least. His mother was a human but his father was one of the Spiritfolk who fell in love with the human woman who kept foraging in his forest.

Intially it was professional completion amongst each other. Finding the best reagents or herbs before the other could. But before long it blossomed into more.

Their son looked completely human except for a light covering of fur across his torso. His fathers goat legs, horns and tail were not gifted to his son but his reflexes and inhuman strength was. In the village they lived in the villagers quickly accepted Gin and his parents union. Especially when the quality of potions, charms and lotions were as high as his parents. However, happiness – like most things can’t remain for long.

Halfway through Gin’s tenth cycle an oni raiding party attacked his village. His parents locked him away and kept him hidden from the oni. But the Oni eventually found his parents. When they worked out that a human and spiritfolk were a could they made a sport out of their torture. It was ok display to the whole village yet Gin couldn’t see his parents in their last moments. But he could hear them.

The following month he pledged himself into the service or the Harimasu military and dedicated his life to hunting Oni.

“and I’ve been here ever since..” he said with a touch if pride on his face.

“sir! We have movement!” A guard shouted as they hurried towards the wall.

“Hold! It’s the spirit folk to send off their dead.” Gin called out to his fellow guardsmen. “See. Wait and watch”

A few moments passed and gradually all types of Spiritfolk appeared around the pile of their dead. Then slowly they formed a circle and began to sing and dance around their fallen. “They are celebrating the reunion of their parents, elders, children and friends and the spirit world. Where they believe they will hunt in the endless plains of their ancestors.” He explained. “This will last until sunset at which point they will take the bodies away and burn them amongst the rest of their kin.”

Sure enough as the sun set the spiritfolk gathered their dead and singing out in joyous tones they carried them away from the battlefield and into the wilds beyond.


244WeThOnCa

Moving forward as the sun set Gin and those who followed behind him looked anxiously at the oni camp. “We will be there soon. Remember. If we get into trouble or the mission is at risk to fire a drift globe shaft into the air and aid will come.” Gin said to the people standing nearby.

With agreement from those gathered he began to creep across the battlefield once more, signalling to stop periodically when something moved up ahead. Soon they were in the shadows of the tents. The setting sun and the shadows of the hills, mountain and nearby forest aided in their mission by creating pockets of shadow.

As the sun hit the edge of the mountain it plunged the camp into a mixture of amber glow from the setting sun and dark shadows. A few hundred feet away war horns trumpeted signalling that the second part of the plan had begun and that it was now or never to enter the camp.

The camp

As the oni and butatō left the camp in a hurry to meet the attackers head one. Slowly Gin and his entourage crept forward towards the main tent and waited for the oni captain to leave. As the captain stormed out with its armour buckled in tight a few slave Butatō followed in its wake. Taking this moment as the one to move Gin and his companions skulked forth once again and cut a hole in the canvas tent. Once the coast was deemed clear they entered silently.

None of those present realised the mistake that had been made until it was too late. A deep unholy growl rumbled forth from the shadows of the tent which threatened to bring the entire oni warband to the captains tent. A neat table lay in the centre of the room and contained a map, documents and scrolls. For their brutal use of weapons and mastery of war and savagery the oni were also expert tacticians.

As they stared at the multi limbed creature that confidently strode forth Gin prepared his drift globe shaft in a hand crossbow and prepared to state the words that would activate the arcane device. Looking between his compatriots and the creature he hoped that he didn’t need to call for aid and that they would be able to deal with this threat quickly and quietly.


Environment and running the adventure

Gin He has five drift glob shafts which are small drift globes that are crafted into arrow or crossbow arrow/bolt shafts so that when they are shot they activate the moment they start to slow from being launched. This causes the bolt to slowly fall to the ground whilst the drift globe emits a light (of pre-determined colour).

If the party go with Gin they are in the tent when the creature reveals itself. It’s not a hard fight but as it falls it calls out loudly (unless silenced in some manner – Player and DMs decision).

If they don’t the Party are with some other warriors fighting Oni, captains (a larger one in full plate with a large shield and battle axe) when they see several drift globes activate above the Oni Captains tent signalling Gin needs help.

The camp is built on an incline, rather sharply so. The tent are setup in a rather ingenuous way where they form a solid slab-foundation of wood, earth or even snow under the tents to level the tent.. to some degree.

The snowy hills pose an interesting mechanic for us. One way difficult terrain. Moving up the hill through the snow towards the camp is considered difficult terrain where as moving down isn’t. Patches of snow pose a further hindrance as fighting in these areas would impose disadvantage to dexterity checks and strength contests (not checks) due to the slippery mud and shin-to-knee deep snow.

Encounter – The Bakegamoto

The Bakegamoto is a large dog like creature with a pushed in snout, large bat like ears and at least two large tusks jutting from their bottom jaw. The males are generally endowed with larger tusks and are a mixture of faun with a ruddy brown light mane that sprouts from the neck.

Females are generally lighter in colour without the mane but their tusks are shorter and generally thinner and sharper than the males. Trained bakegamoto are extremely obedient, strong and powerful. Normally kept by Oni captains or chieftains as a sign of power and strength they defend their master completely and obey orders to the best of their ability.


After the encounter:

The party move on for another day of walking before the wall is seen on the horizon. Although they have bested all that has been thrown at them so far they fear the worst still lies ahead of them.


Shadows Throne Ritual Hall

Welcome to Thursday where today I wanted to spend some time creating a final battle arena for the Shadows Throne Ritual Hall.


Shadows Throne Ritual Hall

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The ritual hall has six supporting pillars around the centre pit. A single altar in the middle glows with an unholy power. The room is masked in constant shadows where the eerie blue light from the braziers doesn’t provide more than a glow within 5ft.

The pit itself is 3ft deep, difficult terrain, and if people fall prone in it they will need to make a DC14 con save or become poisoned until they leave the water.

Made with Inkarnate.com

Nice simple quick one tonight just to have a basic map ready for the monthly adventure to be finished this weekend. Don’t forget to come back the next few days and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Confronting the Shadow

Welcome to another end of week writeup where we follow our party as they travel through the Shadows Throne and end up confronting the Shadow. This week our party moves towards a hidden path into the shadows Throne, or the front door, and prepare to confront the being that has haunted them for almost a year now. So sit back, have a cup of coffee and let’s catch up on what was created this week.


Shadows Maze

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The party scurried forth towards the heart of the citadel. Or at least that’s what they had thought at least. The citadel was a tangled mess of halls and tunnels. The halls were obviously well crafted at some point but tunnels were dug between halls.

The halls were largely barren and empty as were the tunnels. Occasionally they would witness a screaming wounded oni being dragged down a hall before disappearing into a tunnel.. But otherwise the minions of the Shadow were frantic. Their movements, organisation and coordination were disorganised and hasty as if anxious or fearful. They did have an army at their front doorstep and their master was weak or so the vision had indicated so.

The party were running out of time but they were getting nowhere fast. They would have to find a way to the dark master soon before it was too late.

The very human cries and screams brought them to their present moment and without a moment to lose they took off down a well used hall. Eventually they began to notice a pattern for the tunnels as some lead to new rooms, hallways, dead ends of refuse pits. As they were approaching what smelt like a refuse pit they heard the muffled screams again in the tunnel. Venturing forth they found a well concealed secondary tunnel, unlike the others to date, perhaps, which lead to a large chamber with cages and cells built into the wall. A large ogre stood in the middle of the room brandishing a whip as it lashed out at humans pleading for mercy.

The ogre stopped flaying a middle aged man and looked up towards the party. The look of shock was quickly replaced by a stupid grin and malicious twinkle in its eye. The Shadow would have to wait.

Servants doubt

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The diminutive creature watches as the party squared off against the ogre and a silent smile crossed its face. This could be it, the moment its freedom was bought.

Since it had watched its friends, comrades and children fight for the Shadow and fall for it. Since it has watched the same once revered master feast on their broken bodies and imbue itself with their dying life force. Enough was enough.

As the ogre strode forwards towards the party the shrieks from those still in cages got louder. Some wailed for saving, some cheered for the party but others cheered for blood. The ogre roared in approval at the terror and lust for blood as it brought its whip and cracked it over the head of the party as it waited for the first move.

Power Starved

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As the bodies piled up around the alter the power started to seep into the dark waters and flow into the cold slab of stone. Sitting atop the stone the Shadows Avatar sat in silence, power starved. A fragment of what its former self used to be and far from it needed to be and time was running out. In fact from the increase in wounded and dying Oni, Trolls, Butatō and captured slaves suggested that the light bringer, those chosen by the dragon were here.

The creature watched as the power gradually ebbed and flowed like waves as the ritual channelled the power within the dead and dying into its form. As the casualties piled up a gnawing concern rose in the creature. If these mortals were able to do this to its servants and chosen minions then is it enough? Was this meagre power that was being drawn from these husks enough?

There was a single option, a fail safe, that was available to the creature now. Modifying the ritual slightly small channels opened up in the ritual pool. Slowly the tainted waters began to spread and weave their way through the citadel, causing water to drip down upon all. If all went well then the creature wouldn’t have to resort to it, but the thought of doing it anyway did cross its mind.

A sudden pang shot through the creature, one of its shadow-touched had just been killed. As the shadow-stuff that empowered the creature disappeared the power that was lent also did. No, no, no. There was not enough bodies here, not enough energy to rebuild its form and its strength.

The ritual, there was only one option left to it and it had best be started now. As the shadow magic pushed outwards and touched everything who had been touched by the tainted water pockets of light were also felt. These cursed weapons and trinkets! They protected the mortals from its ritual. Regardless once the ritual was complete it would have enough power to squash these humans. It was just a matter of time now, a race. Them to race to its chamber in time or it to complete the ritual first. The winner would surely claim victory.


NPCs this week

None…


Environment and running the adventure

Bottom of the map

There are some cave ins that don’t look like they can be fixed with a pick and shovel but most of the map is connected. Most rooms are left bare to be filled in as we see fit. There is a mess hall to the left of the ritual hall and on the top of the page there is a set of stairs leading to a balcony where archers could be stationed, perhaps a large table for looking at a map for defence coordination.

Top of the map

The top half of the map is new, roughly carved, uneven ground with sharp edges. Even the walls and square(ish) rooms are uneven and basic however there is evidence of technology and infrastructure taking place in most rooms. A barracks to the left of the large room of the main entrance serves to feed troops to the wall or the the defence of the Ritual hall or southern rooms. The warren where the prisoner cells are could be filled with critters or beasts that get fed the scraps (dead prisoners) or as a sleeping quarters for the lowest of slaves and servants in the citadel.

The prisoner cells located at the top right of the map is where the Ogre encounter happens. The tunnels to the Ritual hall (centre of the map) should be hidden and either investigated and stumbled into naturally or with a guide. The bottom half of the map should be a mixture of old dwarven stone work and newly hewn, rough stone (likely the Oni).

Inspiration – Map less adventure (246ThLoOTThOSh)

Made with Inkarnate.com

Encounters

The War room

Several creatures are milling about preparing to either go out to the battlefield or command it. Several Oni Captains stand by with Oni sentinels acting as guard and a handful of Oni to get ready to fight.

The Oni are on the lower level. They are surprised by the party if they come through the front door (if applicable). The sentinels are not and the captains quickly engage to curry favour from the Shadow.

The Training Hall

The Training hall is within shouting distance of the main hall if the party let any creature escape towards the hall.

The hall itself is rather empty with some training dummies against the wall. The stench of sweat and blood is strong in here as the Oni, and their trainer have been drilling for what seems to be hours. As the party appear they are eager and keen for a fight. They will have advantage on saves vs Fear AND have advantage on attack rolls for the first battle round.

The Mess Hall

The Mess Hall is filled with drunken Oni. Some injured, some not. These Oni appear to be celebrating and none of them are fit for a fight. They are considered to have the Poisoned condition.

Collapsed Room

The collapsed room looks like its undergoing restoration. A team of 7 Butatō are busy moving rocks from the wall and startle quickly. They have no weapons but tools to move and break apart soil and rock. They are quick to flee and will dont want to cause a fuss. They seem to be very disloyal to the Oni and The Shadow and harbour resentment. Mayu be willing to help the party outl if asked.

The Warren

The warren is a series of tunnels and 10ftx10ft (or bigger) dens where the Bakegamoto are bred. Its attended by a head breeder, some servents (Butatō slaves) and the parents with their pups.

The Cells

The Cells are where the Shadow Born Ogre watches over and bosses the slaves and captives around. Shockingly intelligent he uses the prejudice of being a dumb brute to his advantage and will attempt to feint being dumb – but he is a bad actor and his ruse is easily seen through. There are two sets of cells in this room separating the Humans from the captured spiritfolk (Cant have the prisoners and slaves eating each other now..) and several creatures tied to benches or racks receiving torture from the Ogre. A few Butatō slaves are in the room but they cheer on the party as they start to see the Ogre get hurt and be bested by mere humans.

The Butatō slaves are very very willing to help the party and will approach them and speak in broken common to plead for them to save them and kill their Dark Master.


Creatures in the halls (all created in tetra-cube)


Shadow Bound Ogre

The Shadow is very selective in who it trusts and loans its power to. This Ogre through sheer strength, malice and willingness to spread the shadows corruption was one of the favoured ones. Engaging the party quickly and with great sweeping blows I would set his initiative to 15 and keep it there. The shadow didn’t just bless this brute with more strength and shadow infused blows but with a cunning intellect. It knows when its in trouble and will act accordingly. Willing to grab, grapple and hold hostages this should be a tough warmup fight.

Created in tetra-cube

The Shadows Avatar

Bit of a spoiler – the ritual goes off but not half as much as it would have wanted. By drawing the life from all its minions (through its back up plan) it manages to scrape by at this power level – not the full force of a deity but close enough for the average mortal.

Fast, intelligent, charismatic and having the ability to induce fear upon the entire party this is a mean creature. Immune to damage unless magical or dealing radiant damage this will take some chunking before it goes away.

Having a unarmed attack that can turn into a free grapple is good, as a legendary action it can help make this creature feel stronger and more imposing that it should. The scimitar is also quite strong with its strength drain ability. Party members will start to fear this attack if the fight goes on too low as instant death is a rare thing in D&D5e.


The fall

In Confronting the Shadow, and his Avatar the party inadvertently defeat the host army. The creature they fight slaughters all his servants and slaves, using their souls to increase its own power for a final confrontation. The rest of what happens will have to wait until the end of the month…


This is it. The final weekly wrap-up for the eleven months of this campaign. Thanks for sticking with me for this long and for joining me tonight to go through the end of week write-up. Don’t forget that this week I will touch some things up. Probably create some loot for the citadel or something. Also, as with every signoff, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Logistics of the Throne of Shadow

Welcome to Thursday where I turned my hand towards the very familiar effort of drawing a map and this week was the logistics of the throne of shadow. Sometimes its easier to hand draw a map with the features you want in it than to create something online or using software. There is also something satisfying about a map such as the one tonight which brings back the nostalgia of simpler times.

But tonight we are here for a map and whilst not my finest work (still working on about 3 hours sleep a night for over a week now) it will do the job for this weeks encounter.


Logistics of the Throne of Shadow

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Bottom of the map

There are some cave ins that don’t look like they can be fixed with a pick and shovel but most of the map is connected. Most rooms are left bare to be filled in as we see fit. There is a mess hall to the left of the ritual hall and on the top of the page there is a set of stairs leading to a balcony where archers could be stationed, perhaps a large table for looking at a map for defence coordination.

Top of the map

The top half of the map is new, roughly carved, uneven ground with sharp edges. Even the walls and square(ish) rooms are uneven and basic however there is evidence of technology and infrastructure taking place in most rooms. A barracks to the left of the large room of the main entrance serves to feed troops to the wall or the the defence of the Ritual hall or southern rooms. The warren where the prisoner cells are could be filled with critters or beasts that get fed the scraps (dead prisoners) or as a sleeping quarters for the lowest of slaves and servants in the citadel.

The prisoner cells located at the top right of the map is where the Ogre encounter happens. The tunnels to the Ritual hall (centre of the map) should be hidden and either investigated and stumbled into naturally or with a guide. The bottom half of the map should be a mixture of old dwarven stone work and newly hewn, rough stone (likely the Oni).

Thanks for coming again tonight. Hopefully my brief moment of nostalgia with a hand drawn map brings back memories of your first days, sneaking a look at your DMs map and working out where the traps, the dragon or the treasure is. Don’t forget we have at least two stat blocks to talk about so don’t forget about them and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Path into the Shadows Throne

Welcome to another end of week writeup where we look towards the citadel known as The Shadows Throne. This week our party moves towards a hidden path into the shadows Throne, or the front door, and prepare to confront the being that has haunted them for almost a year now. So sit back, have a cup of coffee and lets catch up on what was created this week.


Path into the Shadows Throne

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The party stared at the sheets of paper in front of them. The small droplets of blood that clung to the parchment left a trail as they slid to the ground. The letters, maps and notes that lay out infront of them revealed a side yo the Oni that they hadn’t seen. And one they wished they hadn’t.

Diagrams for a ritual in a large antechamber were revealed. A large altar or pedestal looked to be in a large bowl or recession in the chamber. The drawings indicated sacrifice of spirit folk, oni, humans and other races deemed lower than the oni.

The ritual looked to be one of creation. Binding bones, flesh and blood together to form a new body for something. The ritual pages finished here but there other pages that looked to be schematics for a fortress within a mountain. It mapped plans for guard rotations as well as the hidden path for escaping the citadel in case of emergencies.

Taking the plans, Gin and the surviving members of the plan they head back to the wall. The captain, Kyoko and the messenger for Kuang were all eagerly waiting for the party when they arrived.

After some time they started discussing what it could mean in hurried conversation before they turned to the party for advice.

Blood Bone and Shadow

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The creature stirred from the warm granite and ash on the stone floor. Slowly the nerves in its muscles fired and it pushes its face from the ground and looked up at the creatures that served it. They stood around it in reverence, not wanting to be the first to approach the fallen figure that had, until this moment, lay crumpled on the ground.

“Master. The humans. They have pushed us from the wall. I.. er.. some of the others feared you had fallen and ordered a retreat.” A large, although cowardly, oni spoke as it shuffled forward towards the large humanoid figure. “What would you have us do? We may be able to rally the spirit folk and have them take back the ground we lost when the ice witch..” his speech was cut short as the creatures hand shot forward and plunged into the chest of the oni. With a look of shock and horror the oni watched as its heart was pulled from its chest, all but one artery detached as the figure drank deep from the pulsing organ.

“I would have you shut up” the creature said as it drank its fill from the warm blood. “I would have you all not have retreated from the wall. It was ours to take. Victory was within our grasp and you let it slip through our fingers.” The creature said as it shuffled to kneel on the ground.

No creature dared speak or move for fear of suffering its wrath. Although it wasn’t the shadow itself it was a vessel for embodying its unholy form within this plane and its power was unfathomable to the mortal creatures that served it.

Finally a ogre like creature spoke. “Master. The humans. They are come here…” The rest of the servants moved from the avatar.

It slowly looked up at all those who were gathered. “The ritual must be done again. Before they get here. I will need to bolster this body and prepare to do what you can not. Kill a party of humans. Take the slaves, take the captives. Grab the weak and injured. Their bodies will renew my strength. Go now” The avatar if shadow barked and delighted in the creatures panicked scurry.

Herald of Light

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Liz and Jung travelled with a small army of Harimasu warriors as Kuang directed them towards the shattered mountain up ahead. Since Jung has appeared as a dragon Liz had begun to notice that her connection to her deity, Chauntea, had increased. Her Goddess had started to grant her more powerful blessings and miracles and she had the feeling she was being drawn towards the dark mountains.

What Liz hadn’t counted on was the aura that seemed to resonate from her causing creatures to shy from her and humans to flock to her. Her presence when General Kuang and the Harimasu warriors met the Toshio family guard, mercenaries and soldiers caused the majority of them to lay their arms down and surrender to the Harimasu force.

When travelling through the western pass and even past the wall towards the shattered peak ahead creatures, Oni and other dark servants of the Shadow retreat from her presence. That or maybe it was the fifteen foot dragon that floated or walked next to her at all times.

Jung, once called Siu, had increased in size since being with the humans. What’s more he had noticed that whilst being with Liz he was stronger, faster and seemed to radiate a light much like she did. As the two of them approached the front ranks of the soldiers – a mix of Harimasu and the defected Toshio soldiers – the full extent of the mountain came into view.

“We believe that they are already in there. Or close to being so we believe.” Takeo said as he appeared suddenly next to Liz in a flutter of feathers. “Some of the Wall guard have begun to siege the wall at the entrance to the mountain, well what remains of it.” he continued as he looked across Jung and Liz. “I am glad that you have come. We could use your help. The men and women will rejoice in just seeing you, evidence of our ancestors being on our side as well as the light that radiates from you Liz is a direct affront to the Shadow.”

Looking forwards towards the skirmishes ahead Liz reached out to Chauntea. With a prayer on her tongue she asked for the light to shine on Ryokughan.


NPCs –


Elizabeth “Lizbet” Scaulder

Liz appears at the frontline with the golden dragon form of Jung Harimasu as they prepare to assault the citadel known as The Shadows Throne. As a distraction or aiding the getting the party in it doesn’t matter as her presence alone rallies the troops.


Environment and running the adventure

Smoke and dust fill the sky as you gaze up at the entrance to the mountain. The flow of Oni and other servants of the Shadow are constant, scurrying backwards and forth across the rough stone. Deep within the mountain a red glow and the chants of an unholy ritual resonate through the cold stone as you stand and watch. As you look at the remnants of the crumbled façade of the citadel before you its not evident whether it was constructed after of before the rock fell, but you can tell that it was made by a master craftsmen.

The creatures that move through the area don’t pay you any attention but they seem to be directed by an unseen hand. As the pounding of air and chanting of magic continues the feeling of unease settled in your bones. This is not a place for mortals. This is not a place where the sunlight wants to tread for fear of being swallowed up by the shadow that has penetrated the stone.

Inspiration – Map less adventure (245ThKnOShDo)

Made with Inkarnate.com

Encounter – The Trenches and Sentinels

Oni, BakegamotoButatō, Oni Sentinels and bound river trolls guard the front entrance. The Butato provide ranged support from the walls and pepper the ground with arrows whilst Oni defend the gate, wall and operate the defence. The Bakegamoto act as shock troops and charge in to disrupt the party.

The trolls are interesting, they are chained a little way from the wall in a small trench. When those foolish or unaware walk near them the trolls attack with a ferocious hunger but they are chained to the trench. These chains however can be released by mechanisms that the Oni control (but the trolls attack Oni and humans alike).

The Oni sentinels are the best marksmen of the Oni. They are positioned in watch towers and are crack shots with a heavy crossbow. However there are not many of them. As the mountain fell many of those on watch were lost as the towers were crushed by the rock.


Oni, Butatō and Bakegamoto


Oni Sentinel, Bound river Troll

Both created in tetra-cube


The hidden passage

The hidden passage is along the wall towards the north of the entrance. This requires the party to cross a trench, dodge crossbow shots before entering into it. Having or memorising the notes from the Oni camp will enable them to find the entrance with no issue. Once in there is nothing within the passage way itself apart from some Giant rats and perhaps a starved Oni or Butatō.


Another week has come and gone and we find ourselves at the precipice of the end of the year of content. This week we revealed the intel gathered from the Oni camp, made our way to the citadel and hopefully saw our party make their ways in. Next week we confront the creature at the heart of the ritual which is a pretty big deal. So don’t forget to join me for for this coming week and as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Intel of the Oni

Welcome to the home stretch. This month are taking the fight to the Shadow while it’s weakened. This week we made the first move in this quest, we are searching for the intel of the Oni and their plans. This week we have a choice that leads the party into the camp of the Oni as the spies or as the saviours – but the initial choice is theirs.


Pursuit of the Oni

244MoPuOTOn

With the retreat of the Oni and the cracking open of the mountains peak the party woke up feeling refreshed. After the defeat of the ice queen and defence of the wall against her magic the wall guard offered them the best room and comforts available to them. Four walls and a bed each.

In the morning the party emerged to find the wall quiet. The land beyond the wall was even more so with only the occasional movement at a forward base camp the shadows minions had on the ridge further towards The Shadows Throne. The oni and their slaves, the Butatō, were the only things that could be seen as left over from the battlefield. The Spirit folk and other creatures that had been fighting the party and the wall guard had disappeared which gave the wall guard a day of repairs to the wall.

“Message from the General. Lord Toshio was found dead in his tent and his troops had surrendered. Apparently they have all claimed enchantment and enthrallment from the Yuki-onna and the warriors claim that Lord Toshio took his own life when he heard his wife had been killed.” The messenger from the general recited to wall captain Hou and Kyoko. “The General has begun to detain and question the Toshio troops but Lord Harimasu has pardoned them on condition that they return to their homelands and begin to broker peace between the two families again. The general is on his way here to make an attack on the mountain. He will be here in two days however he needs what ever intel we can provide him.”

Kyoko frowned at this and asked for a map of the battlefield from what the scouts had been able to map out. “This camp of Oni. How defended is it?”

“We estimate that it would be a few dozen Oni, their leaders and slaves at a minimum. A frontal attack would go poorly but if there is another way that we can get the intel without risking more lives or leaving the wall undefended then I am all ears.” Captain Hou replied as he pointed towards the map, indicating where he would suspect the intel to be kept.

“Sir, I volunteer to lead the operation to retrieve the intel.” a voice said from the door. Wall Guardsmen Gin Seng stood there looking determined and fatigued. “I’ve grown up training to fight these creatures, to defend this wall. If I can help finish the war then I want to be involved… Sir.” he added with a moment hesitation.

“This mission is too crucial to leave it to one person. But too difficult and risky for a large scale attack.” Kyoko said as she nodded to Gin Seng.

“Perhaps these heroes from across the sea would be able to be of assistance once again?” Kit Hou said as she smiled at the group. “They seemed to have saved half of Ryokughan already from the Oni and the Shadows influence so what’s one more mission?”

General Hou frowned at his daughter. “We put too much pressure on them. They have done enough. We can not rely on them forever and I fear that there may be worse things up in those hills which we just haven’t seen yet.”

Kyoko smiled to the party. “It’s up to you. But we may need help distracting the main force if we were to send in a smaller group of wall guard to retrieve the intel. If you can help with either endeavour I would feel more confident in our success. The entire Oni force would know of you by now and surely they would want to have a chance at gaining the Shadows favour by attempting to best you in combat.”

Rejoicing Spiritfolk

244TuReSp

“Sir, I volunteer to lead the operation to retrieve the intel.” His voice echoed in his mind as he looked over the battlefield. In four hours the sun would begin to set and he would begin the mission.

As he looked across the soldiers clearing the battlefield of their dead and piling the enemy corpses onto a pile he called out. “Place the spiritfolk in a separate pile. They dont burn their dead with the Oni. They think it an offence to the spirits who guide them.” He said to Kit who, as punishment, was in charge of the bloody duty.

When the party and Kyoko looked his way he smiled sadly. “I spent some time with the spiritfolk when I was young… Some things you cant forget.” He began. After a moment he explained further.

Gin was born the son of an alchemist, two infact. His parent’s were non-conventional to say the least. His mother was a human but his father was one of the Spiritfolk who fell in love with the human woman who kept foraging in his forest.

Intially it was professional completion amongst each other. Finding the best reagents or herbs before the other could. But before long it blossomed into more.

Their son looked completely human except for a light covering of fur across his torso. His fathers goat legs, horns and tail were not gifted to his son but his reflexes and inhuman strength was. In the village they lived in the villagers quickly accepted Gin and his parents union. Especially when the quality of potions, charms and lotions were as high as his parents. However, happiness – like most things can’t remain for long.

Halfway through Gin’s tenth cycle an oni raiding party attacked his village. His parents locked him away and kept him hidden from the oni. But the Oni eventually found his parents. When they worked out that a human and spiritfolk were a could they made a sport out of their torture. It was ok display to the whole village yet Gin couldn’t see his parents in their last moments. But he could hear them.

The following month he pledged himself into the service or the Harimasu military and dedicated his life to hunting Oni.

“and I’ve been here ever since..” he said with a touch if pride on his face.

“sir! We have movement!” A guard shouted as they hurried towards the wall.

“Hold! It’s the spirit folk to send off their dead.” Gin called out to his fellow guardsmen. “See. Wait and watch”

A few moments passed and gradually all types of Spiritfolk appeared around the pile of their dead. Then slowly they formed a circle and began to sing and dance around their fallen. “They are celebrating the reunion of their parents, elders, children and friends and the spirit world. Where they believe they will hunt in the endless plains of their ancestors.” He explained. “This will last until sunset at which point they will take the bodies away and burn them amongst the rest of their kin.”

Sure enough as the sun set the spiritfolk gathered their dead and singing out in joyous tones they carried them away from the battlefield and into the wilds beyond.

The Oni’s Camp

244WeThOnCa

Moving forward as the sun set Gin and those who followed behind him looked anxiously at the oni camp. “We will be there soon. Remember. If we get into trouble or the mission is at risk to fire a drift globe shaft into the air and aid will come.” Gin said to the people standing nearby.

With agreement from those gathered he began to creep across the battlefield once more, signalling to stop periodically when something moved up ahead. Soon they were in the shadows of the tents. The setting sun and the shadows of the hills, mountain and nearby forest aided in their mission by creating pockets of shadow.

As the sun hit the edge of the mountain it plunged the camp into a mixture of amber glow from the setting sun and dark shadows. A few hundred feet away war horns trumpeted signalling that the second part of the plan had begun and that it was now or never to enter the camp.

The camp

As the oni and butatō left the camp in a hurry to meet the attackers head one. Slowly Gin and his entourage crept forward towards the main tent and waited for the oni captain to leave. As the captain stormed out with its armour buckled in tight a few slave Butatō followed in its wake. Taking this moment as the one to move Gin and his companions skulked forth once again and cut a hole in the canvas tent. Once the coast was deemed clear they entered silently.

None of those present realised the mistake that had been made until it was too late. A deep unholy growl rumbled forth from the shadows of the tent which threatened to bring the entire oni warband to the captains tent. A neat table lay in the centre of the room and contained a map, documents and scrolls. For their brutal use of weapons and mastery of war and savagery the oni were also expert tacticians.

As they stared at the multi limbed creature that confidently strode forth Gin prepared his drift globe shaft in a hand crossbow and prepared to state the words that would activate the arcane device. Looking between his compatriots and the creature he hoped that he didn’t need to call for aid and that they would be able to deal with this threat quickly and quietly.


NPCs –

Wall Guard Gin Seng

Gin heads straight to the Oni camp with the party or with a small group of warriors from the wall. He is determined but nervous at the mission ahead.

Wall Captain Hou

Managing the repairs and defence of the walls Captain Hou makes the necessary plans to ensure that the party and the other warriors joining them near the Oni’s camp are well supplied.

Kyoko Harimasu

Kyoko stays back at camp and works with Takeo to ensure that General Kuang arrives quickly so they can press the advantage.

Miss Hou

Assisting her father, Captain Hou, Kit spends most of her time near the wall coordinating the warriors to provide cover fire, fix walls and prepare if there is a counter attack.


Environment and running the adventure

Gin He has five drift glob shafts which are small drift globes that are crafted into arrow or crossbow arrow/bolt shafts so that when they are shot they activate the moment they start to slow from being launched. This causes the bolt to slowly fall to the ground whilst the drift globe emits a light (of pre-determined colour).

If the party go with Gin they are in the tent when the creature reveals itself. It’s not a hard fight but as it falls it calls out loudly (unless silenced in some manner – Player and DMs decision).

If they don’t the Party are with some other warriors fighting Oni, captains (a larger one in full plate with a large shield and battle axe) when they see several drift globes activate above the Oni Captains tent signalling Gin needs help.

The camp is built on an incline, rather sharply so. The tent are setup in a rather ingenuous way where they form a solid slab-foundation of wood, earth or even snow under the tents to level the tent.. to some degree.

The snowy hills pose an interesting mechanic for us. One way difficult terrain. Moving up the hill through the snow towards the camp is considered difficult terrain where as moving down isn’t. Patches of snow pose a further hindrance as fighting in these areas would impose disadvantage to dexterity checks and strength contests (not checks) due to the slippery mud and shin-to-knee deep snow.

Map – Encounter over the wall (244ThOnCaLa)

Made with Inkarnate.com

Encounter – The Bakegamoto

The Bakegamoto is a large dog like creature with a pushed in snout, large bat like ears and at least two large tusks jutting from their bottom jaw. The males are generally endowed with larger tusks and are a mixture of faun with a ruddy brown light mane that sprouts from the neck.

Females are generally lighter in colour without the mane but their tusks are shorter and generally thinner and sharper than the males. Trained bakegamoto are extremely obedient, strong and powerful. Normally kept by Oni captains or chieftains as a sign of power and strength they defend their master completely and obey orders to the best of their ability.


The other creatures that fight the party are Oni, Oni Captain and Butatō.



Thanks once more for reading my end of week writeup. This week see’s the party taking the fight to the Oni, next week being the aftermath of the fight as well as the leadup to the second and last week of the month. This week may be a bit sketchy with the first few days being broken and different schedules my normal ones. I will endeavour to provide a regular flow of content as we make our first steps up into the mountains where the Shadow Calls home. So don’t forge to come back each day this approaching week and as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Oni’s Camp layout

Welcome to bonus content Thursday where tonight we are producing the map for this weeks encounter and mission. Tonight I present to you the Oni’s camp layout and the remnants of the snow brought by the Yuki-onna.


Oni’s Camp Layout

244ThOnCaLa

Tonight the map covers a large oni captains tent at the centre of the map with several fires around the camp. The camp is big enough to hold several dozen Oni, their slaves and only Tyr knows what else.

The idea behind this is that the camp is on a general slope upwards where a few tents; a place for eating, a small arms tent and the captains tent being set up on the flat areas of the sloped hill. The idea is to create an environment when charging downhill is normal terrain but charging uphill is difficult terrain and thus slower to move upwards.

Made with Inkarnate.com

Thoughts.

Wow… Layering didn’t want to work tonight and I had to spend a stupid amount of time trying to get the background layers to blend to work together. Several passes and tries at the pathways, the areas that the grass pokes through the snow was enough to make me want to call it early tonight. But adding on the muddy trodden areas and the areas for snow, dirt and rock resulted in something I would probably fix up later when I had more patience for the process.

But tonight’s map is definitely useable and my favourite part of this map is definitely the camp fires and the floating ember effects I managed to work through tonight. Inkarnate definitely has quite a few options for adding more to the end product and producing something that can wow players let alone the DM.


That’s it for tonight. As always don’t forget to come back tomorrow to investigate what the creature was in the captains tent and uncover what I have planned for combat this week. And lastly, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

The Defence of the Wall

Tonight as we head further closer towards the conclusion of this yearly adventure with The Defence of the Wall. This month we have a level 9 adventure and by the end of it we will see our party at level 10.

As with last time Pages 1, 2 and 3 are content pages, the description, flow, random tables, etc. and such that you’ve previously seen.
Page 4 contains all NPCs and portraits to help the DM describe them and a bit about them to help play them out.
Page 5 will be stat blocks and map(s) – all that D&D encounter goodness that you want.

Now I will assume you have read the entire post which has had some bits modified over the months content. Now including the original content, and some bits added this is a smaller than normal length, only just making 5822! words long. I really do appreciate the time you take to read through these end of month adventures.

All Maps were made in Inkarnate using their Pro license, Art was created in Artbreeder and the statblocks were created in Tetra-cube AND the balancing of encounters is a mixture of experience and the guides found at Kobold Fight Club.

Don’t forget to come back next week and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe


Part 1 – Mote of Radiance – 240MoMoORa

Black feathers caught the wind currents under the dark ominous clouds and caused the large winged creature to soar above the ground far below. Beating its wings it looked down below at the group travelling along the road. It’s keen eyes picked out everything. From the colours of their clothes to the wear and tear on their cloaks not a detail was missed. That was until the hilt of a blade, the tip of a staff and the glimmer of an amulet glimmered from under cloth.

The resulting burst of radiance in the creatures view caused it to reel with pain. It wasn’t just its pain it was feeling but also its masters and its desires were simple. Don’t let them reach the wall.

Tucking its wings in the creature dove down the wind now aiding in its rapid descent as it plunged. Noticing movement from its left and right two of its brethren also had been urged downwards. However, their descent was halted as a bolt of radiance shot up from the travellers, connecting with the torso of the creature next to it. The tangled mess of skin, flailing limbs and gore tumbled down towards the earth as the creatures dove onwards.

Too late did the creature realise as the blades, limbs and bolts piece and shred their flesh that these motes of radiance were too much for them. Even as they began to flee shredded wings flapping in a panic they were cut down no far from where they made their foolish attack.

As the radiant light burnt through its flesh and it lay in a pool of blood and gore the power the Shadow had leant it all those years ago evaporated with the last beat of its heart.


240WeDaFo

The Dragons Tears items were phenomenal. With a single command word they shed bright light as if a miniature sun had been captured and forged into a item. The sun is something that the party had not seen in days and the further they travelled in this direction the more certain they were that they wouldn’t see the sun for quite some time.

“It wasn’t always like this” Kyoko said from beside them as she walked, the unseasonal browning leaves crunching underfoot. “These parts of the Harimasu lands were always green and rich with life. Now with the Shadow spreading its influence further east it looks like the life is being stripped from the earth.” Kyoko’s voice was melancholy but the bright light from the items the party carries seemed to bring mirth back to her face.

“Legend has it that the weapons were so powerful that the Shadow couldn’t stand to be in their presence. Alone it fled to the mountains to get far enough away from them that it wouldn’t feel their light upon its dark skin.”

The party looked at the items in thought. Surely they were stories told to make the people of these lands feel brave enough to face the horrors that crept in the dark. As a shower of sparks signalled that Takeo had finished building the fire as what they believed to be night descended upon them. Once he had finished with the fire he produced a pot and some rations and foodstuffs to get a meal going.

Nightfall…

As the fire flickered and licked at the empty pot the shadows cast from the creatures that gathered around it for warmth. The smell of stewed meat and vegetables caused the creatures to salivate but that wasn’t reason that they were here. The driving pressure, the urge and the desire to appease their master had lead them here and here they waited until they were sure. Their master was a strong one, clever, fast and wise. But his master was even more so and it was he who was giving the orders.

“Wait until we are sure they carry the light. Then we attack and make sure none find the light ever again” their master had instructed them. The largest creature crooned as she received scritches under its massive jaw.

A brief flash of light, then a pulse. A bigger burst of light that seared the eyes of the nocturnal creatures gave them all the information they needed. As a group they charged, whooping, cheering and howling with excitement as they closed into their prey. They just hoped that they would last long enough to be fun for the pack.


Areas and places of note

Campsite – Along the road to the wall there isn’t a particularly well defensible spot at any point. But with the Dragons Tear items the party feel confident they can fight off anything that comes their way.

Ambush Site – perhaps one of the reasons for the party being confident with their choice of camp is the encounters that they have had to face along the road.

Environment and running the adventure

The trees provide either half, partial or full cover. Perception checks that rely on sound are done with disadvantage from the sounds of the forest and the muffling of noise from the bushes.

Notable NPC interactions.

Kyoko Harimasu – Kyoko has come with the party to aid them in drawing the Ice queen out and coordinating the troops on the wall as the others head to the south to meet the Toshio-family head on and prevent the wall from being attacked on two fronts.

Takeo – Sticks close to Kyoko to ensure that she is safe but otherwise scouts ahead of the party to try and

Encounter

The creatures during the day attack with reckless abandon. They are spurred onwards by the shadow directly and don’t work together or plan out their attacks. The mastiff’s however and their leader (a oni for the sake of giving it a stat-block) attack in an extremely coordinated manner which speaks of tried and tested routine and planning.


After the encounter:

The party move on for another day of walking before the wall is seen on the horizon. Although they have bested all that has been thrown at them so far they fear the worst still lies ahead of them.


Part 2 – Atop the wall- 241MoAtThWa

As the party arrived at the wall the first thing that they noticed was the sheer lack of people. For such a crucial point in the defence of Ryokughan it was shockingly unmanned. A head appeared at the edge of the wall twenty feet above the ground before calling out. “Princess Kyoko is here! Reinforcements have arrived!” the voice was overcome with emotion before several others echoed with joyous cries of relief.

“Kyoko. I don’t think our message hawk arrived here safely. They believe we have more reinforcements for the wall” Takeo spoke in a hushed whisper to Kyoko and the party. “How did you want to handle this?” he added looking from Kyoko to the party who were in fact the reinforcements.

After a few moments a platform was lowered over the side and the party, the princess and the spy were lifted atop the wall. Despite the low numbers of people on the wall they all were veterans. Heavily armed, armoured and trained they carried themselves with a martial poise that was lacking in many. As they rushed towards Kyoko they greeted Takeo and the party, the exhaustion on their faces replaced by joy and relief.

“Before we continue the pleasantries I believe I need to have a word with you lady Kyoko” a particularly grizzled and hard man said from a nearby door to a small tower. “There is something that is of great urg…” he began as he held up a fist and listened to the quiet that his signal instilled. “It comes!” the wall captain roared as every single soldier drew their weapons and surrounded the party and princess.

In a moment of chaos clouds of shadow-smoke appeared around the wall in sporadic bursts. Soon the sound of steel clashing, grunts and combat rang out around the party as the unknown adversary launched itself at the walls defenders. After a few moments the creature disappeared and the shadow-smoke dissipated soon after.

“To your posts. Prepare for combat!” roared the captain who eyed his men and women closely, inspecting for wounds. Finding one he pulled them aside “to the infirmary,” he said with a sigh as the realisation set into the face of the woman in front of him. “you’ve been stung. You won’t be seeing battle again until you’ve recovered” he added as he clasped the soldiers shoulder.

“yes sir!” the soldier barked obediently as with a great deal of sadness she handed over her weapons in resignation to the captain before retreating down a nearby set of stairs. As she disappeared into the bowels of carved and fortified stone.

“We are hounded by a creature that does not kill, it barely wounds but what it touches quickly dies. Normally at the hands of the victims allies.” the captain said as he grabbed a helmet and moved to the wall. “Those unfortunately enough to get injured by it recover after some time. Normally after heavy sedation. Some don’t and they choose to live on the outside of the wall so that in their condition they can still benefit their brothers and sisters.”

“What do you mean wall captain Hou?” Kyoko asked as she moved over to the wall before clasping a hand to her mouth.

“They go mad. Their blood boils and they cant detect friend from foe. They will kill anything in sight. Lethally trained warriors who can’t tell friend from foe and who have a lust for blood that a demon would envy. I haven’t seen it before. Our healers can only sedate and hope that their spirit is strong enough to fight the affliction. If they can’t resist then they spend their final days ripping into our enemies and serving us in their death.” the captain said with great reverence as he saluted a human who stopped pacing by the base of the wall, bloody froth covering its mouth.

After a moment the human, one a warrior that defended the wall turned and charged away from the wall, picking up a crude looking sword as it charged headlong into a mass of charging Spirit folk. The brutality in which the warrior cleaved into the fey creatures was outstanding and hard to watch. But that wasn’t only sight on the other side of the wall. Dozens of injured and dying lay strewn about the battlefield on both sides. Humans, those afflicted as well as the minions of The Shadow, all of them calling for help or crying out in pain or fear.

“We have tried to recover our wounded or dead and we started to lose more men than we saved…” a wall guard said from next to the party. Nodding towards the captain who pulled on a helmet and drew a magnificent longbow as he climbed a nearby watch tower. “He lost his daughter. She was a fine warrior and led the last recovery mission. She was cut down by a Oni.” The guardsman nodded towards a banner that stood high amongst the bodies, rocks and toppled trees. “She lies somewhere over there. Some men swear they have seen her moving about the battlefield but I think they are just seeing things.” he sighed. After a moment he ran off down the wall to continue to guard as creatures started to reach the wall.


241WeThEdOfTo

As the party stood atop the wall they thought of the day that they had witnessed. Twice more the shadow creature had struck but by luck, skill or divine grace they had not been inflicted with the affliction. The woman in the infirmary howled with rage and even while heavily sedated it only eased the peaks of her fury.

They also had to witness the dead rise from their broken and battered forms and assault the wall, beaten back and slain by either the warriors on the wall or those afflicted driven mad by rage who hunted the no-mans land between the wall and the rocky mountains where the attacks came from. Even while the party watched from the wall and aided in driving back the dead or the twisted spirit-folk there was little joy in the tasks they did.

It was at this point, at the edge of torchlight that the party saw movement. To precise and too careful for undead or afflicted. Too subtle and tactical to be spirit-folk or beast. As the party watched the shadow approached the edge of the light cast by the braziers and torches that lined the wall and it quickly darted forward and grabbed a pack from a fallen oni warrior. The distinct human colour skin flashed from under layers of tattered and ripped cloth as a sudden gust of wind caused the light cast by the fire to flash across the face of the creature and a human Ryokughan female looked up at the party startled.

The figure pressed a finger to her lips before skulking off towards a crest in the battlefield, as the moon strained to peak through the oppressive clouds the flag, the standard of the wall guard flapped calling the mysterious figure to it.


“That’s her! That’s the captains daughter!” The wall guard from earlier that day announced. Gin Seng pointed at the captains daughter as she hurried across the battlefield towards a rocky outcrop. Moments later several shapes started to move towards her and the rock rise in the battlefield, she appeared unaware.

“we have to do something” Gin said as he hurried towards the crane. His voice causing a commotion amongst the other guards.

“What’s going on here?” barked Captain Hou.

“Kit is out there Sir. We saw her” Gin said, the party confirming with him.

“It’s probably a trick of the Shadow…” The captain said, his own voice betraying the hope he held deep inside. “Kit is gone…”

A scream erupted from the battlefield. The shadowy-Kit had been ambushed and the sound of combat could be heard. “KIT!” her father screamed as he threw the platform over the side of the wall. “Man the defences. Ballista and arrows trained on the battlefield. Nothing comes up whilst I go down.”

“Captain Hou, the plan can’t succeed without you. The adventurers are veterans at combat and have surprised me more than once. Besides it will be a test to see if the simple presence of the Dragons Tears artefacts can draw forth the shadows minions…” Kyoko said as she stepped out in full armour.

“I hate to ask this of you my friends. But are you willing to rescue the captains daughters and see what happens when the dragons light erupts forth from you?” she asked with a tinge of guilt and regret.


Areas and places of note

Heavens Reach Wall – The wall is immensely long. Covering the entire northern province of Ryokughan and only stopping at massive towers near great impassable mountain rangers. To the North of the Wall lies the Shadowlands and at their closest peak of the wild plains and forest lies The Shadows Throne – a massive mountain that is thought to be the home of the Shadow.

Notable NPCs

Kyoko Harimasu – Kyoko keeps herself hidden and defended by many guards. Captain Hou and Takeo spend most of their time talking tactics into how to lure the Ice queen towards the wall and a trap.

Takeo – Takeo once again acts as Kyokos body guard and seems unwilling to leave her side.

Wall Captain Hou – Captain Hou is a rugged veteran commander of the wall guard for decades he has led the elite troops in defending the land from the Shadows Influence and was so honoured that his own daughter joined him. This was his biggest regret as his daughter was just as head strong as he was in his youth and led a foolish mission to retrieve the wounded from the battlefield only to be struck down herself.

Wall Guard Gin Seng – Gin Seng is one of the warriors in the Wall Guard. He is well trained and a natural in combat but perhaps a bit too emotional for the captains liking. Leading with emotion rather than discipline Gin Seng is sure that the captains daughter still lives and swears that he has seen her at night.

Kit Hou – Thought to be dead Kit, the captains daughter, is seen out in the battlefield scavenging when the warriors of both side are at their most peaceful.

Environment

Night time shouldn’t be a hassle for the party with their level, abilities and gear by now so it’s another night time encounter.

Encounter:

Any creature from our vaults can be used here. I would suggest some Oni and perhaps an afflicted human warrior (see gladiator stat block with affliction template added). The Wrath Wraith also comes forth and attacks the party as they reach Kit Hou – she seems to be untargeted by the creature but the party are less fortunate.

Aftermath

As the party defeat the wrath Wraith the all too familiar haunting call of the Onikage echoes through the battlefield and Yukri Toshio – the Yuki-onna appears on the back of a huge Onikage. She points towards the party as the crest of the hill she is standing on erupts into dozens of shadowy shapes running toward the party. Kit pleads for the party to retreat as the guard on the wall start to call for them to run back as well.


Part 3 – Chilling Call of the Queen- 242MoChCaOfThQu

As the Onikage snorted with barely contained violence and hunger, Yukri watched the humans from its back. The yuki-onna knew that the Shadow, the one who had given her powers to rule as the Ice Queen, wanted these humans dead. But killing these humans had proven difficult, even the enlisted help from the Laelóng but the vain beast failed.

“Queen. The humans have escaped back on top of the wall. They have powerful weapons and we have to retreat…” a hesitant voice spoke from her side. The Oni looked down at its feet and braced for the worst but it didn’t come. A second voice spoke, much older, darker and more influential than the lowly Oni.

“You must stop them. Those weapons are cursed by the dragons and elves of old. Their magic has the power to bring down your kingdom. You must kill the wielders and stop them from taking everything you have fought for” The Shadow whispered in her ear. The sound of its voice so filled with power and malice that all other noises, thoughts and reason drifted from her mind. Eventually the sounds of screams, pleading and The Shadows intent washed her thoughts away until there was nothing left but overwhelming rage.

All she had worked for. All she had sacrificed and for what? A group of humans and magic swords to take it from her. Not likely. She watched her warriors and the creatures she commanded flee from the wall, all except the mindless undead, and her frustration grew. The frustration and rage boiled up within the Yuki-onna and it overflowed. Screaming her hatred and rage across the battlefield her intensity of her thoughts mixed with her magical abilities and a wall of frost formed over the fleeing warriors.

“Cowards…” she muttered as she looked upon her frozen troops. “Tomorrow they will take the wall. I don’t care how many it takes I will not have everything I worked for taken from me.”

242TuCaOfThDr

As Kit sat down at the table with her hands crossed in front of her face she met the uneasy stare that her father was giving her. “So before you begin I want to explain why first…” she said as she accepted a hot cup of tea. “I had a vision…”

“A vision of your death?” her father, Captain Hou interrupted bluntly. His displeasure mixed with concern evident on his face and in his voice.

“No. If you’d let me continue, I had a vision of a golden dragon asking me to find out why there was a demon at the wall. It asked me to have faith and stay on the outside of the wall and watch the enemy as they went by with their attack. And I did.” she stopped to blow on her tea before sipping it slowly.

“They were studding the wall with these.” she aid as she reached into a torn pocket and deposited what appeared to be a shard of obsidian like material that had been carved into a thin stud. “I wasn’t sure at first but I watched them firing arrows towards the wall and us. I almost gave up when suddenly an arrow hit one of the fragments and this cloud of shadow sped across the ground and attacked all who stood above where the arrow hit. The next wave of attackers did the same thing. Ran up, those that got to the wall embedded another shard and then they would launch a few volleys of arrows. Each time the Shadow demon, the Wrath Wraith, would appear.”

She paused for a moment and let it sink in. “I though that if the creature just did as it was told and attacked where the shard was broken then we may be able to use it as a weapon. So I tried it out and it worked. The wrath wraith appeared and attacked the oni when they appeared over the ridge. They must have worked it out because I was retrieving one of the shards when they attacked. Lucky these adventurers appeared in time and saved me as during the commotion the shard I had scavenged broke in my pocket.” she paused to sip from her tea.

“I grabbed a few more shards on the way here so we can analyse them but if the wrath wraith is dead then there is no ability to summon it again.” she added. “But I think I did what the dragon ancestor had asked as I could see the glow of the ancestors on these adventurers. I decided that my task was complete so I didn’t need to stay out there any more.”

As if to punctuate the closure of her story the room dropped in temperature suddenly and a horrible scream broke through the night air outside. Racing up the steps the party looked over the edge of the wall to see walls of ice littering the battlefield. As they trace the direction the walls seemed to point in the Yuki-onna, Yukir Toshio and a huge Onikage stalked away from the battlefield.

The first flakes of snow began to drift down from the darkened clouds.

242WeTiOfSh

As the snow began to settle on the wall the movement of hundreds of feet broke the eerie silence. The drone of stampeding feet rose to a thunderous roar as spirit folk, oni, demons and undead rushed towards the wall.

As the humans manned the defences and shot arrows into the oncoming horde the oni and spirit folk that fell quickly rose again as undead. The tell-tale signs of the Yuki-onna’s magic appearing as steam, frostbite and ice clinging to the freshly raised bodies.

As the bodies hit the wall the undead began to pile up the oni and spirit folk used their bodies to climb towards the top of the wall. But, the bodies concealed the real threat. Dark tendrils of Shadow crept along the ground under and around the feet of the humanoids. As they touched the wall they began to feel for cracks, gaps or holes in the wall in which they quickly filled the crack with their shadowy mass.

All across the wall the masses of bodies rose and fell as they were expertly cut down as the shadowy tendrils pierced the walls. The shadows weaved from the wall across the battlefield and back to the Yuki-onna.

With a surge of magic she gathered the shadow energy and merged her own power within it. Forcing the shadowy tendrils to freeze as if dark permafrost the ground erupted and cracked as the shadow expanded. As the ice rushed forward beams of light shot from the sky and the weapons and items of the heroes which banished the shadow, shattering the ice as it formed.

Where the shadow and ice wasn’t banished it cracked the wall and created walls of ice that protected the shadows minions while creating a ladder for them to climb up.

Appearance of a hero near the tendrils sent the ice and shadow into splinters to the ground and the invaders crashing down behind them. But more bodies brought more tendrils of shadow, their bodies leeching it across the ground where they ran, shuffled, fell and died.

The constant flow of shadow magic and the influx of dark ice came from the Yuki-onna who commanded the battlefield from a raised perch surrounded on all sides but one by jagged ice. One clear path to confront the source of dark magic and end the siege before it brought the wall down.


Areas and places of note

Heavens Reach Wall – The giant wall starts to shake as the first of the tendrils and walls of ice erupt against it. As enemies spill over the top the wall becomes a chaotic place where the sounds of battle is constant and overwhelming.

Notable NPC Interactions

None this week.


Environment and running the adventure

The ice is slippery and any attempt to climb across it or move over it results in a DC14 dex check or they fall prone. The Ice spikes however can not be moved over and grant the Yuki-onna half cover from ranged weaponry.

As for the other parts of this encounter treat the shadow as something that can be spotted and targeted as a creature.

This creatures sole purpose is to find holes in the wall and act as a way of channelling ice magic from the Yuki-onna to damage, bring down the wall and act as a bridge and ladder for the warriors on the ground. Or those on the wall to go down to the ground.


Encounter

Our first lot of encounters is the wall – Oni (hobgoblins), a captain and some lesser creatures (gnats or zombies.. something that is CR1/4) can flesh this part of the encounter out. If we treat them as coming in waves with the waves being 5 rounds apart it can make it feel like the tides are endless – just need to describe the creatures taking some time making it across the fields.

The second encounter is when the party realise that they are being torn apart by the Yuki-onna and so they leave the wall to take the fight to her. Now if the party has ranged weapons, abilities or spells it makes this part of the fight easier so I would enforce that the spikes summoned (see last nights map Sieged under snow) provide 3/4 cover for the ice queen from range where there is spikes between her and the attacking party.

Apart from fighting through the waves of Oni, the captains and zombies or lesser Gnats once they reach the ice queen she is quite formidable. I would have the waves still come, our party is level 9 after all, but maybe have supportive arrow fire dwindle the horde a bit from the wall.

For the Onikage as this one is meant to be huge, a more impressive specimen, change the size to huge and HP to 60 and that will just about do it for us.

Non-Player Characters (NPCs)

Koyko Harimasu

Takeo

Wall Captain Hou

Kit Hou

Wall Guard Gin Seng

Officer Hatoi Yuon

Yukri Toshio

Expanded Battlefield – Ice Queen

Welcome to the bonus content night aptly named, Expanded Battlefield – Ice Queen, where we feature a… well expanded battlefield for our battle with the Ice Queen. Tonight we find ourselves with 3 more maps to situate around our initial one from Sieged under snow. So Enjoy!


Expanded Battlefield – Ice Queen

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West map (West 1)

More forest-y than the other maps this one would be a good candidate for a “breached wall” part of the battle. Where the wall crumbles and Oni, undead and other creatures who are fighting spill into the woods past the wall. This map links in immediately left of the main map and south (under) west 2 where the walls should just line up nicely.

Map West 1 made with Inkarnate.com

North-west Map (west 2)

With a more direct imposing section of the wall into the map this map goes in the top left hand side of the 4. A good height on the tower it enables archers and those with ranged capabilities to defend the area and take down enemies with relative safety. Until the tower crumbles that is.

Map West 2 made with inkarnate.com

Northern Map (North 1)

Directly north above our first battle map this one here shows what’s beyond the ice queen and is the direct path to the Shadows Throne. Perhaps good for showing where enemies are or how long until they reach the wall (or the Yuki-onna) this map adds more depth into the battlefield.

Map North 1 made with Inkarnate.com

A nice short one tonight with some additional easy to do maps. However by using Inkarnate to produce these maps I was able to use the same background colours and layers and keep the sizing the same. In fact a lot of the wall section, trees, bodies and hills are the same scale as I duplicated the first image. This enabled me to make sure the scale was consistent across all the maps.

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for maybe a random encounter and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Siege of the Ice queen

Welcome to the last weekly write-up for October where we look at the siege of the Ice queen. This week finds the party at the mercy from the Yuki-onna as she commands a frontal assault on the wall. Perhaps the Ice Queens rage and fear of defeat will make her vulnerable it’s not the same little humans that fought her last time.

As always portraits are created in Artbreeder and the normal wonderful tools like Kobold-fight-Club, Inkarnate and D&D Beyond are used frequently.


Siege of the Ice queen

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As the Onikage snorted with barely contained violence and hunger, Yukri watched the humans from its back. The yuki-onna knew that the Shadow, the one who had given her powers to rule as the Ice Queen, wanted these humans dead. But killing these humans had proven difficult, even the enlisted help from the Laelóng but the vain beast failed.

“Queen. The humans have escaped back on top of the wall. They have powerful weapons and we have to retreat…” a hesitant voice spoke from her side. The Oni looked down at its feet and braced for the worst but it didn’t come. A second voice spoke, much older, darker and more influential than the lowly Oni.

“You must stop them. Those weapons are cursed by the dragons and elves of old. Their magic has the power to bring down your kingdom. You must kill the wielders and stop them from taking everything you have fought for” The Shadow whispered in her ear. The sound of its voice so filled with power and malice that all other noises, thoughts and reason drifted from her mind. Eventually the sounds of screams, pleading and The Shadows intent washed her thoughts away until there was nothing left but overwhelming rage.

All she had worked for. All she had sacrificed and for what? A group of humans and magic swords to take it from her. Not likely. She watched her warriors and the creatures she commanded flee from the wall, all except the mindless undead, and her frustration grew. The frustration and rage boiled up within the Yuki-onna and it overflowed. Screaming her hatred and rage across the battlefield her intensity of her thoughts mixed with her magical abilities and a wall of frost formed over the fleeing warriors.

“Cowards…” she muttered as she looked upon her frozen troops. “Tomorrow they will take the wall. I don’t care how many it takes I will not have everything I worked for taken from me.”

Call of the Dragon

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As Kit sat down at the table with her hands crossed in front of her face she met the uneasy stare that her father was giving her. “So before you begin I want to explain why first…” she said as she accepted a hot cup of tea. “I had a vision…”

“A vision of your death?” her father, Captain Hou interrupted bluntly. His displeasure mixed with concern evident on his face and in his voice.

“No. If you’d let me continue, I had a vision of a golden dragon asking me to find out why there was a demon at the wall. It asked me to have faith and stay on the outside of the wall and watch the enemy as they went by with their attack. And I did.” she stopped to blow on her tea before sipping it slowly.

“They were studding the wall with these.” she aid as she reached into a torn pocket and deposited what appeared to be a shard of obsidian like material that had been carved into a thin stud. “I wasn’t sure at first but I watched them firing arrows towards the wall and us. I almost gave up when suddenly an arrow hit one of the fragments and this cloud of shadow sped across the ground and attacked all who stood above where the arrow hit. The next wave of attackers did the same thing. Ran up, those that got to the wall embedded another shard and then they would launch a few volleys of arrows. Each time the Shadow demon, the Wrath Wraith, would appear.”

She paused for a moment and let it sink in. “I though that if the creature just did as it was told and attacked where the shard was broken then we may be able to use it as a weapon. So I tried it out and it worked. The wrath wraith appeared and attacked the oni when they appeared over the ridge. They must have worked it out because I was retrieving one of the shards when they attacked. Lucky these adventurers appeared in time and saved me as during the commotion the shard I had scavenged broke in my pocket.” she paused to sip from her tea.

“I grabbed a few more shards on the way here so we can analyse them but if the wrath wraith is dead then there is no ability to summon it again.” she added. “But I think I did what the dragon ancestor had asked as I could see the glow of the ancestors on these adventurers. I decided that my task was complete so I didn’t need to stay out there any more.”

As if to punctuate the closure of her story the room dropped in temperature suddenly and a horrible scream broke through the night air outside. Racing up the steps the party looked over the edge of the wall to see walls of ice littering the battlefield. As they trace the direction the walls seemed to point in the Yuki-onna, Yukir Toshio and a huge Onikage stalked away from the battlefield.

The first flakes of snow began to drift down from the darkened clouds.

Tides of Shadow

242WeTiOfSh

As the snow began to settle on the wall the movement of hundreds of feet broke the eerie silence. The drone of stampeding feet rose to a thunderous roar as spirit folk, oni, demons and undead rushed towards the wall.

As the humans manned the defences and shot arrows into the oncoming horde the oni and spirit folk that fell quickly rose again as undead. The tell-tale signs of the Yuki-onna’s magic appearing as steam, frostbite and ice clinging to the freshly raised bodies.

As the bodies hit the wall the undead began to pile up the oni and spirit folk used their bodies to climb towards the top of the wall. But, the bodies concealed the real threat. Dark tendrils of Shadow crept along the ground under and around the feet of the humanoids. As they touched the wall they began to feel for cracks, gaps or holes in the wall in which they quickly filled the crack with their shadowy mass.

All across the wall the masses of bodies rose and fell as they were expertly cut down as the shadowy tendrils pierced the walls. The shadows weaved from the wall across the battlefield and back to the Yuki-onna.

With a surge of magic she gathered the shadow energy and merged her own power within it. Forcing the shadowy tendrils to freeze as if dark permafrost the ground erupted and cracked as the shadow expanded. As the ice rushed forward beams of light shot from the sky and the weapons and items of the heroes which banished the shadow, shattering the ice as it formed.

Where the shadow and ice wasn’t banished it cracked the wall and created walls of ice that protected the shadows minions while creating a ladder for them to climb up.

Appearance of a hero near the tendrils sent the ice and shadow into splinters to the ground and the invaders crashing down behind them. But more bodies brought more tendrils of shadow, their bodies leeching it across the ground where they ran, shuffled, fell and died.

The constant flow of shadow magic and the influx of dark ice came from the Yuki-onna who commanded the battlefield from a raised perch surrounded on all sides but one by jagged ice. One clear path to confront the source of dark magic and end the siege before it brought the wall down.


NPCs – 237TuWiotDa

Wall Captain Hou

Captain Hou commands the wall troops to push back the attacking creatures but starts to struggle as the Yuki-onna’s attacks begin to bring down the wall.

Kyoko Harimasu

Kyoko fights with Captain Hou as she sends Takeo to the capital to warn them that the wall may fall and to provide the current status to her father.

Miss Hou

Captain Hou’s daughter reveals the reason she was hiding and scavenging amongst the battlefield. She joins Kyoko and her father in defending the wall and the Harimasu princess.

Wall Guard Gin Seng

Gin Seng simply defends the wall.


Environment and running the adventure

Tonight the encounter was balanced assuming that our party would have levelled up after reaching the wall and the fights along the way. This sets us at around 30000 xp for a daily encounter budget and around 6400 for an encounter.

Map – Encounter over the wall (Surveying the Battlefield)

Made with Inkarnate.com

Encounter – Warriors and Wrath

The first waves is straight forward for us.

The Shadow Tendrils move as fast as they can towards the wall and then take the dodge action until the Yuki-onnas turn. They always act on initiative 10 and wont attack creatures. They also always stealth up using the creatures above them as cover.


Our first lot of encounters is the wall – Oni (hobgoblins), a captain and some lesser creatures (gnats or zombies.. something that is CR1/4) can flesh this part of the encounter out. If we treat them as coming in waves with the waves being 5 rounds apart it can make it feel like the tides are endless – just need to describe the creatures taking some time making it across the fields.


The second encounter is when the party realise that the walls are being torn apart by the Yuki-onna and so they leave the wall to take the fight to her. Now if the party has ranged weapons, abilities or spells it makes this part of the fight easier so I would enforce that the spikes summoned (see last nights map Sieged under snow) provide 3/4 cover for the ice queen from range where there is spikes between her and the attacking party.

Apart from fighting through the waves of Oni, the captains and zombies or lesser Gnats once they reach the ice queen she is quite formidable. I would have the waves still come, our party is level 9 after all, but maybe have supportive arrow fire dwindle the horde a bit from the wall.

For the Onikage as this one is meant to be huge, a more impressive specimen, change the size to huge and HP to 60 and that will just about do it for us.


Thanks again for joining me for another end of week writeup. Next week I will work on some bonus content as we work our way up to the end of the month. Next month is the end of the road for us so don’t forget every day between now December 1st. And as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe